Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 3 Tables - May Round 3 Michael Thomas, 1998 - Anton Taylor, 2011 English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

2017 3 Tables - May Round 3
Michael Thomas, 1998 - Anton Taylor, 2011
English: Anglo-Indian (A15)

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e6 Oftentimes Catalan players will accept this transposition and I get into familiar territory as black. My opponent in this game (a long-time friend of mine) prefers to keep things tense and undecided. 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Bd6 Be7 is more common and probably just a bit better because the queen supports the d-pawn advance. the bishop on d6 interferes with the queen's file. 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 c5 7. e3 There are very few games in the database in this position to give a fair assessment but after my next move I give a plus to black. White has delayed his central push in favor of activity on the wings. These ideas are often countered by action in the center. 7. ... d4!? 8. exd4 cxd4 9. Re1? Bb2 seems the more appropriate reply or maybe even Ba6. This is just an inaccuracy but not a blunder. There is game left to play here. 9. ... Nc6 10. Bb2 e5 Only now does komodo running on my home pc begin to see white's problem. He has some weaknesses but perhaps just as important he has zero attacking prospects and his only plan for the next several moves is to try and develop. 11. a3? This move comes from a fear of black getting a knight outpost on c2 but white can simply prevent this with a move he will have to play eventually (d3). Therefore, this a waste of time. Also, as it turns out in the coming ending this is a decisive mistake because it leades to a weak b-pawn. 11. ... Bg4 Bf5 instead of this move was probably better. I considered it but did not spend much time on it ... not enough time. 12. h3?? This is a blunder but I failed to capitalize on it correctly. I, however did find a technically won ending from here. 12. ... Bxf3 13. Bxf3 Qd7? komodo gives the interesting sacrifice 13. ... e4!. I have to say that I did not consider that move at all. To my eyes it just seemed to blunder a pawn but with potential variations like 13... e4 14. Bxe4 Nxe4 15. Rxe4 f5 16. Re6 Qd7 17. Re1 f4 Black looks to be mopping things up nicely. 14. Kg2? Sacrificing the pawn was necessary to leave black with only a slight edge of a rook-pawn. 14. ... Qf5?? e4 once again looms in the air as the winning idea. This move allows white to consolidate and even gives him a winning game with correct play.  15. d3 Rae8 16. Bxc6?? Almost every other move on the board wins for white or at least gives him a comfortable edge to work with. This move, however, just gives up a whole set of squares to black's forces in the bishop's absence. 16. ... bxc6 17. Qf3 Qxf3+ 18. Kxf3 Rb8 19. Nd2 Nd7 20. b4 a5 21. c5 Bxc5 22. Nc4 axb4 23. axb4?? White is already lost but the game could be saved in the time trouble of the ending if white had tried Nxe5 as I expected him to play here. The text just leads to carnage. 23. ... Bxb4 24. Re2 f6 25. Ra6 Nc5 26. Rxc6 Nxd3 0-1 Mike said "that's enough" and extended his hand. I have played Mike a few times in the last fifteen years but until this game I was on the receiving end of a massive beating. It is a landmark game for me in spite of the mistakes. 

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